UPS Works To Avoid Another Holiday Backlog, Will Charge Retailers Extra If It Happens

Dear retailers: UPS has its eye you. In an interview with the wire service Reuters, the company’s CEO explained its efforts to avoid another disaster like the Christmas 2013 shipping delay that left many Americans sad and giftless. Namely, if retailers try any last-minute sale shenanigans while promising delivery by Christmas, it’s going to cost them. Money.

Last year, there were about two million packages that arrived late, which were largely the fault of retailers who promised express shipping by Christmas. Not everyone enjoys receiving gifts after the holiday, and for the last year, the entire retail industry has been thinking about how to prevent a similar delivery disaster next year. Shipping carriers like UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service may actually appreciate Christmas Creep and Black Friday Creep, since if the sale cycle begins earlier, that gives them more time to deliver orders.

While CEO David Abney told Reuters that UPS has increased its capacity and its ability to spot massive package surges before they cause systemwide delays, they also won’t rule out charging retailers extra if they cause extra work. UPS reports that the number of packages that it processes at the peak of the holiday season is up 40% since 2009.

UPS CEO: Unplanned holiday surge could cost retailers [Reuters]